Aprons and Silver Spoons by Mollie Moran
|Aprons and Silver Spoons by Mollie Moran|
|Reviewer: Louise Jones|
|Summary: Mollie Moran recalls with affection her years spent as a scullery maid in a stately London townhouse.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 384||Date: March 2013|
At the tender age of 14, young Mollie Browne was forced to put her idyllic childhood behind her and embark on the world of work. Rebellious and strong-willed, young Mollie had no intentions of working in her grandmother’s shop as her parents had planned and sought to escape her small-town life in rural Norfolk. Fortunately for Mollie, a position was available for a scullery maid in a townhouse in Kensington. Would this free spirit manage to make the transition from carefree days climbing trees to working 15 hour sessions of repetitive, back-breaking toil?
Aprons and Silver Spoons is the true story of Mollie, now 96, and her days working below stairs in some of the grandest houses in Britain. We see Mollie grow from a timid girl to a competent young woman as she rises through the ranks from lowly scullery maid to cook.
Mollie is a likeable character, 'high on life', and writes as if she is talking to a close friend. Unlike many women of her time, Mollie longs for adventure and fun rather than marriage and children, although her naivety often gets her into trouble. I especially enjoyed reading about her disastrous quest for a boyfriend, during which Mollie seems to limp from one unsuitable candidate to another. Firstly there is gentle farmhand George, who seems ideal, but Mollie is in love with his unattainable older brother. She then tries dating a roguish footman, even though the rules of the house forbid staff relationships. Her third doomed romance is with a fascist bully who is a member of the infamous 'Blackshirts'. Is Mollie doomed to failure, or will her story have a happy ending?
Aprons and Silver Spoons will appeal to anyone who enjoys TV shows like Upstairs Downstairs and Downton Abbey. Mollie seems to write about her life as a scullery maid with genuine affection and nostalgia, even though the work was very hard and at times, unpleasant. As she worked in the kitchen, much of the text is devoted to lengthy descriptions of mouth-watering dishes. I‘m sure that I put on weight just reading about it!
This is a wonderful book and I was completely absorbed reading Mollie’s fascinating life story. I also liked the fact that she included an afterword to explain the eventual fates of some of the characters in the book and I found it interesting that the war served to reverse the circumstances of so many. Mollie also enhances the narrative with the addition of lovely photographs, a few household management tips and a couple of recipes. The sausage roll recipe looks delicious...
For a similar book set during the same time period, try Below Stairs: The Bestselling Memoirs of a 1920s Kitchen Maid by Margaret Powell
You can read more book reviews or buy Aprons and Silver Spoons by Mollie Moran at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Aprons and Silver Spoons by Mollie Moran at Amazon.com.
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